The Streetwise Professor takes on Zero Hedge today, comparing and contrasting it with Russia Today (an obvious and up-front bit of Kremlin propagandising, albeit with substantially more appealing presenters than classic Soviet TV) and asking whether ZH's Daniel Ivandjiiski is nothing but a slightly covert Kremlin operative. It's an interesting question.
My feelings on the matter are complicated. Certainly there are any number of commentators on Zero Hedge who are outright deranged, but this goes for pretty much any blog on the Net so we shouldn't condemn them for that. Heck, you get equally deranged commentators on The Guardian's Comment Is Free, would you argue that this is a hotbed of - oh, wait, bad example. There's certainly a good range of contempt for the financial establishment, banks, governments and personalities therein, but that is also pretty well replicated worldwide; Goldman Sachs 666 for instance could not be said to be a fair and balanced view of the Vampire Squid. Indeed, you'd be hard to find a blog sympathetic to most of the financial establishment.
As with The Professor, I find ZH to be an OK news aggregator, and it has generated some interesting leads I've used to dig around and produce blogs in the past. The charts don't lie - at least, I assume they've not been photoshopped (hello, Adobe lawyers! trademarked term in common use, bite me!). The editorials and commentators seem to be rather dedicated chartists, an inclination which I personally regard as somewhat demented, and indeed there are conspiratorial hints in some articles (they're out to punish the shorts! gold margins going up shows that the CME is being instructed to punish gold bugs!) which don't really pass a sniff test; however, it seems a little thin to hang Daniel as a paid hater of Western capitalism. After all, he used to make a living from it.
That said, the commentators on the Professor's article seem so rabidly pro-Russian that he almost must be onto something - either that, or the SVR want us to believe that he is. Who knows?